Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fun with Classics

For the last eight months or so, we've been reading and studying some ancient literature and history. As you know, Ryan is taking Ancient History at History at our House, and I think I've mentioned before how we've been enriching that experience with some literature and other studies on the side.

Back in the summer, we read out loud a children's version of The Odyssey that was just fabulously well-done. Ryan especially couldn't get enough of it, but Morgan enjoyed it as well. We've also been reading about Greek mythology (D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths), and we just started The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) last night. :o)

What's been interesting to me is how these stories have stuck in their little heads. I'm sure they don't remember every single little detail of every story, but they were interested and engaged enough to recall certain details months and months later. And I think that's cool, because not only is it amazing to learn what they remember, it's fun because I am such a big fan of history and mythology. So it's a value we share!

A couple of examples are in order.

Upon hearing police and ambulance sirens the other day, Sean looked a little alarmed (he is often alarmed by loud sudden noises). So I said to him "Listen to the sirens!" And Morgan piped in with "Mom! Sirens! Just like Odysseus heard!!!!"

The other morning in the hotel we were sitting in the lobby eating their free breakfast. I'd had tons of half-and-half in my coffee, and Sean was holding the little containers and drinking the dregs of half-and-half. Ryan started laughing hysterically, and called Sean a Cyclops. When asked to explain, he cackled "Because it's like when the Cyclops was drinking all of that Trojan wine when Odysseus got him drunk so they could poke out his eye and escape! Look! Sean is a giant, holding those little cream thingies!" It did, just for a moment, look like Sean was a giant (although with two eyes), drinking down little jugs of wine that were tiny to him. We all cracked up, and Sean even laughed in that way babies do when everyone else is laughing but they don't get the joke.

When reading But Not the Hippopotamus to Sean, Morgan noticed the little hats the rats are wearing have wings on them, just like the one Hermes had.

I get a kick out of this, partly because I am the kind of person who notices these little Greek influences all over the place, too. And it's fun to have people around who like to do the same thing. Plus, cultural literacy FTW! :o) And I'm pretty sure I'll be using some of these stories to illustrate principles, in the same way I recently used Ma and Pa! from Little House on the Prairie.

By the way, I've zipped through the first 75 pages of Percy Jackson, and it's AWESOME! Chock full of those references, and I'm having lots of fun trying to figure out which Greek myth is about to come up next. :o)

So, do any of your kids do the same thing? I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Jealous! Yes, I did the same thing, when I was young. 'Cept I only had The Purple Puzzle Tree. (http://www.thepurplepuzzletree.com/PPT.html) So I went around telling everyone about how this and that was like Noah, Moses, David and Daniel.

What my childhood might have been like had I the Greek pantheon.

And homeschooling. ;)